'Penitent' not 'celebrity'.
If Margaret lived today I wonder if she would have her conversion story online or published in a best seller?
In her day - as in Matt Talbot's day, penitents actually did penance. They didn't publicize their repentance and piety. Although their manner of life witnessed to it. Like Matt Talbot, Margaret knelt upon the steps of the church before Mass. She with a rope around her neck - penance was still somewhat public in her day. Penance was not a boast however - the penitent was hardly a celebrity. Margaret's celebrity had been her beauty and her sexuality - her penance was reparation for her misuse of that. In fact, her desire to publicly express her penance had to be restrained by her confessors - that she not call attention to herself.
Margaret is a saint for our times. How many use beauty and grace to attract attention to oneself? How many seek riches and comfort and sexual pleasure in bad relationships? How many youth run away to seek fame and glamour? How many runaways end up homeless and alone, addicted? Fortunately for Margaret, in her lonely sorrow she returned to Christ, since she had been trained in the faith as a young child.
Margaret was a lonely soul, all of her life - even with her lover and son. It was the cross she sought to escape through promiscuous behavior and ultimately an illicit relationship - but everywhere she (we) met that cross. Was she celibate after her conversion? Technically, yes. Would she make a big deal of that the way we do in our culture? I hardly think so. It was her state in life, the condition of her life - even as a 'single' mother.
She retired into greater solitude at the end. Even then they gossiped about her, some doubting the authenticity of her conversion - yet she didn't try to defend herself by publishing her penance, much less the Divine revelations and communications Our Lord shared with her. It was after her death that her conversion and penance was made known by her confessor, and the rumors and innuendo finally ceased.
She has so much to teach us in our day. To read her complete story, go here.
Art: Artist unknown. Source.